If a dream is a wish your heart makes – then what is a nightmare? This question is tricky to answer, because Disney can already be scary at times, unintentionally or not. The wonderful world of Disney and Pixar Studios might seem cute, cuddly, and sprinkled with generous amounts of fairy dust on top. But look a little closer and you’ll find some seriously haunting tuff going on in most Disney films, whether it be frightening moments, dark themes, or unsettling imagery.
Who knows this better than the devoted, lifelong fans of this world-famous animation studio who have artistic talents of their own? Nobody, that’s who. Up-and-coming sketch and digital artists everywhere have been taking iconic Disney characters we once found adorable and twisting them around, exposing the darkness that hides beneath.
That’s why we went out into the wilderness of the online fan art community to find the strangest, most unforgettable renditions of beloved Disney cartoon characters. And you know what? We kind of wish we didn’t, because we feel like the Heffalumps and Woozles are out to get us now.
Turn on the nightlights, kids. Here are 15 Creepy Redesigns Of Disney Characters We Can’t Unsee.
15. Cinderella as Jigsaw
Cinderelly, Cinderelly – we realize that life as a princess-in-waiting might have been tough on you, but did you really have to go to such extreme measures to get your revenge? Was it absolutely necessary to put bear traps on their heads after chaining them up alongside Carey Elwes in an underground chamber somewhere? That’s going a little bit overboard.
Then again, this kind of behavior doesn’t seem too out of character for someone who spends most of their free time talking to rats, does it?
This unsettling rendition of 1950’s Cinderella, the only girl you know who prefers to wear shoes made from fine glass, is part of Anna Kopsky’s picture series that dares to ask: “What if all Disney princesses were sadistic maniacs voiced by Tobin Bell?” Now that we’ve seen the answers, we can’t stop looking over our shoulders, checking to see if some creepy puppet on a tricycle is sneaking up behind us.
14. Snow White Hulks Out
Watch out, Dopey. You won’t like Snow White when she’s angry.
This reimagining of the titular character from 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is “incredible” in its own right. It’s also creeping us out, so we can only glance at it for a few seconds at a time without getting nervous.
Say, since Disney and Marvel are basically the same entity, wouldn’t it be cool if they actually did have an officially sanctioned crossover where something like this happened? No? We’re just the ones who think that? Okay then.
This unholy crossover between the original Disney princess and the side-effects of extreme radiation is brought to you by Norwegian graphic designer Thomas Berg as part of a Marvel/Disney hybrid Photoshop contest held shortly after the two companies merged in this reality. Princess smash!
13. The Revenge of Jafar
As far as classic Disney villains go, Jafar from Aladdin from 1992 is pretty bad. You know you’re despicable when your only redeeming quality is owning a wisecracking parrot that talks like an over-excited bookie. Yes, this one-time Royal Vizier of Agrabah was sinister through and through. He even came back in the direct-to-video sequel from 1996, The Return of Jafar, the only memorable part of which was its poster.
Why would someone make a bad guy who was already creepy to begin with exponentially more creepier than before? That’s a question to ask DeviantArt user jbballaran, who clearly thinks that Jafar is more terrifying when he is in desperate need of some moisturizer. We have to agree, though: a significantly parched and crusty Jafar isn’t the slick, glamorous sorcerer that we’ve grown to know and revile.
12. The Little Mermaid from beyond the watery grave
Looks like the star of 1990’s The Little Mermaid has let herself go deep, deep down under the sea. Did her marriage to Prince Eric fall through or something? Was there a radioactive oil spill she swam through at some point during the animated series we never knew about?
Artist Jeffrey Thomas re-envisions our fishiest smelling Disney princess as a member of the walking dead – or, perhaps, Ursula’s extended family. We’re not sure which. His portrait is part of a larger sequence of artwork that – you guessed it – transforms Disney characters into monsters that make us want to hide under our couches.
11. Maleficent as a Male
This just makes sense, doesn’t it? Maleficent from 1959’s Sleeping Beauty‘s name has the word “male” in it already, anyway. Why not redesign the most fashionable and iconic Disney villain this side of Cruella DeVille to look like a buffer, slightly less malevolent young male vampire? And not just any vampire, either; the kind that looks like just he waltzed straight out of Castlevania. That’s the best kind of vampire, by the way, which is why Sakimichan’s redesign is one that sticks out in our minds so much.
10. Elsa and Olaf let it go… to the dark side
The cold never bothered them, anyway, so why not go for the full-blown frosty yet sinister look?
This fits them slightly better than their original appearances because it brings out a characteristic that we think complements the most prominent theme in the movie: isolation. This re-envisioning put together by artist DreadJim might not creep us out as much as some of the other entries on this list, but it does make us wish we could travel to the alternate reality where 2013’s instant classic Frozen was a dark anime series focusing on the adventures of an ice princess and her demonic pet snowman. If you find a magic portal there some time, will you drop us a line?
9. Nick Wilde gets an upgrade
Carrots, look away!
In case you forgot, anthropomorphic animals are Disney’s bread and butter. Zootopia, released in 2016, focuses on nothing but critters whose conversation skills are significantly better than their real-life counterparts. Its plot involved two characters – Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde – uncovering a prey-supremacist conspiracy to overthrow the longstanding reign of predators.
Wouldn’t it have been more interesting if a weird, twisted plot thread involving creepy cybernetic experimentation thrown in the mix too? A digital version of The Island of Dr. Moreau, perhaps? Looks like Neytrix, fan artist extraordinaire, definitely thinks so. That’s who conjured up this piece of weird science that’s happening before your eyes right now. Never let them see how they get to you, Nick… never.
8. Ursula as Ariel
Hello, nurse. Whoops, we mean, hello Lovecraftian sea witch who steals other people’s voice boxes.
Remember when Ursula transformed herself into a human alter ego, Vanessa, during 1989’s The Little Mermaid? Yeah, not even that prepared us for this eerie and beautiful work of fan art by Jessica Prando, who has reimagined Atlantica’s most hated octo-woman as Ariel, the star of the show. It sounds like an interesting concept on paper, but we were hardly prepared for just how swinging ‘60s it all looks.
Prando has also even gone as far as to make Flotsam and Jetsam look considerably less atrocious than they did in the original classic film. That doesn’t mean they’re not giving us creepy vibes, though, because trust us: they are.
7. Cinderella has a Britney Breakdown
Leave Cinderella alone!
If you get that reference, that means you survived the insanity that was the year 2007, when Britney Spears was the only topic in world news. Why? We don’t remember exactly. To keep it concise, it had something to do with a VMAs performance and particular head-shaving incident. Anyway, that’s what this piece of fan art by José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros is all about, in case some of you kids out there don’t quite “get” it.
Comparing 1950’s Cinderella to the queen of pop makes sense, if you think about it. This was made as part of his “Disasterland” exhibition which features more slightly disturbing but pop culture friendly reinventions of other beloved Mouse House properties if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing.
6. Strung-Out Mickey
So this is what happens when you deprive Mickey of his cheese. Or maybe this is what Mickey Mouse would actually look like if he existed in reality? Either way: yikes.
We admit that a giant anthropomorphic (there’s that word again) rodent doesn’t sound too fun to be around in real life. We also admit that looking at it directly too long would probably warp our minds beyond repair.
All it took was one glance at Dan LuVisi’s frightening portrait of Mickey Mouse – which is part of his “Popped Culture” series – to realize that we’ll never be able to sit through any classic Mickey cartoons again without feeling a crawling sensation happen all over our skins. Thanks, Dan. Thanks a lot.
5. Toy Story II: Toy Harder
Admittedly, this one isn’t as scary as it is completely and utterly awesome to behold.
Artist Sean Izaakse and colorist Marc Bourcier brought to life their idea of how 1999’s Toy Story 2 should have played out – and we have to admit it’s pretty rad. Just look at how cool Woody, Buzz, and Jessie are when drawn in this style.
The best thing about this? It gets the theme song from the 1990s X-Men cartoon intro stuck in our heads. Can’t you just picture what a Toy Story version of that title sequence would look like? Pure gold, that’s what. Disney, if you’re out there listening like you always are: you own the X-Men now – make it happen. We will do favors for you. Like bake you cookies or something.
4. Beauty and the Zombeast
Be our guest, be our guest… for the impending zombie apocalypse that no one is safe from. That includes Belle, the most open-minded Disney princess of them all – who, by the looks of it, shouldn’t have buried her furry beau in that cursed ancient burial ground.
This flesh-eating homage to 1991’s Beauty and the Beast is brought to you by artist Timo9 as part of his collection of “Walt Deathney” portraits. He strikes a perfectly unsettling balance between the charming visual style of the Disney Renaissance era and the filmmaking predispositions of the late George Romero.
3. The Little Mermaid from the Black Lagoon
What’s this? Another Little Mermaid entry? There must be something about the deep, dark depths of the ocean that encourages creepy fan art.
Can you blame us for adding this one to the list, though? Once you’ve seen it, it’s hard to get it out of your mind. Not only is it disturbing, it’s also hilarious. It makes you want to vomit in your mouth a little and chuckle while you do. After all, this is what an undersea creature would probably look like, rather than a beautiful Disney princess.
Not only does this fish-faced Ariel creep out and amuse us, but this fan art could easily serve as a gender swapped version of The Shape of Water.
You can thank Travis Falligant for this one.
2. Vanellope wrecks it
Vanellope von Schweetz is one of the best characters from 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph. That’s saying a lot, because there were plenty to choose from. Here, Vanellope’s glitches are taken to the next level.
Jeffrey Thomas, who made the zombified tribute to The Little Mermaid you fled in terror from earlier, also came up with a spin on Vanellope in the same series of twisted Disney tributes he unleashed upon the world. And it’s… well, fairly pixelated. It’s like Hideo Kojima created a direct-to-video sequel to Wreck-it Ralph chronicling Vanellope’s descent into the dark and seedy underworld of MA rated games.
1. Wicked Witch in 3D
Here’s the thing. We want to look away. We really, really do. But she won’t let us. God help us, she won’t!
Everyone knows that the first Disney villain from 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is the scariest of them all, especially since she ain’t the fairest. This 3D reimagining of the Evil Queen’s nastier alter ego by Stefanie Zirkus emphasizes all the horrific tendencies that made us suspicious of eating apples throughout most of our early childhood. Anyone who has ridden the Snow White’s Scary Adventures dark ride at Disneyland knows that she’s the freakiest ever.
Now we think its best to skidaddle before our souls are swallowed up whole. Sweet dreams!
Did any of these fan arts creep you out? Share your feelings in the comments!
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